The Cool House: Renovation Frustration

Friday, August 01, 2008

Renovation Frustration

Sometimes renovation projects are simple. Like when the design shows tell you to spruce up your bathroom by changing the towels and maybe the hardware. It's easy, they coo, it refreshes the whole room in no time at all and at very little cost.

Then there are the deeply frustrating projects. You start well, you decide to spruce up the bathroom by changing the towels and removing the hideous plastic towel rail.

Three of the screws come out easily but the third is screwed. You use a wrench, a pair of pliers and a lot of brute strength. It takes an hour but eventually the old, ugly towel rail is gone. You measure the distance and the height of the screw holes.

You purchase a new towel rail, and a toilet roll holder in brushed stainless steel to match the faucet and handles on the vanity. When you hold the towel rail against the wall you realise the holes you will need to make to secure it to the wall do not match the existing holes. This is not a big deal if you are screwing into wallboard - that's what spackle is for. However, if the area behind the towel rail is tile, YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE. You contemplate your options. Many months go by.
Suddenly, you have a "eureka" moment. You can center the towel rail on two 6" stainless steel tiles. You order a sample pack of stick on stainless steel tiles from an online retailer. They arrive. You try it out. It looks as if the tiles are part of the towel rail, it fits, it covers the holes. It is the perfect solution.
Then things start to go very, very wrong. You request the help of The Guy to afix said tile/towel rail combo to the wall. The Guy offers to take over. You ask if he requires help masking the spot. He does not. He asks only for a magic market to block the tile. You give him the pen and move on to other tasks. You leave the house.

When you return an hour and a half later you are surprised that only one bracket of the towel rail is on the wall. You make the unwise decision to voice this aloud. The Guy storms off, whereupon you take this opportunity to examine his work more closely. The holes are not covered by the tile. On the other side of the bracket he has knocked the glaze off an adjacent tile while hammering plastic anchors into the tile. Why?
You leave the project, go into your office and find the desk littered with paper on which is scribbled mathematical formulae for calculating the exact position of the towel rail on the tile. But nowhere is there a calculation for the correct placement of the tiles so that the existing holes would be covered. Which was, if you remember, the point of the tiles in the first place.
My conclusion from this project? The littlest things take the longest time, cost you money than you ever imagined and are emotionally frustrating.


Jean Martha said...


min hus said...

Soooo feel your pain on these kind of projects. Happens to us too.

Perry Degener said...

The stick-on, stainless steel tiles are truly a eureka discovery. We can't wait to try them when we redo our kitchen.